Could the long-popular white kitchen have a competitor? Read on and decide for yourselves
Houzz UK editorial staff. I’m an interiors journalist and editor, previously for… More
When we think of kitchens, we tend to imagine bright spaces, all the better for functioning as practical rooms in which to prepare meals, eat breakfast or load the dishwasher. So choosing a black kitchen might seem counterintuitive… but why should it be? Explore these super-stylish black cookspaces and the idea might just grow on you.
Mix with marble
If you have the space or organisational capacity to dispense with wall units, black base cabinets cut a dramatic line across a wall of monochromatic marble… Except that this isn’t marble at all, but marble-look tiles, making the idea way more accessible.
The slimline, suspended shelves add interest to the backdrop without cluttering it up (if you’re tidy, of course) and choosing an equally slender solid white worktop gives this space a particularly crisp finish. Wooden accessories tie in with the pale, honey-coloured floor and both soften this disciplined scheme.
If you like this overall effect but favour less of a minimal feel, you could swap the worktop, hob and black shelves for chunkier versions in the same colours.
Check out the trend for inky-dark walls
Make it a feature
Rather than opting for an all-over black kitchen, you could choose a bank of cupboards to pick out in the hue, but surround it with paler details – in this case, the wooden cupboards, white worksurfaces and that light-boosting window splashback.
If your kitchen runs along a suitable exterior wall and you’re interested in fitting a transparent splashback like this, consider carefully what you’ll see through it, as it will become part of your interior, too. Here, the tones of the brick wall work well with the warm glow from the pendant lights and the wooden details, and even the grey of the stools and concrete floor.
Go for a classy clash
If you live in a property with original mouldings, don’t let that deter you from fitting the ultra-contemporary kitchen of your dreams. As you can see in this swish French kitchen, the combination of modern straight lines and ornate period details works really well – the one highlighting the other to great effect.
In this kind of context, a matt finish will keep your units suitably muted within a space with this level of gravitas. If you need to bounce some light around, consider smaller details for this purpose – the gleaming worktop and reflective splashback in this space are subtle but do the job excellently.
Fall for a softie
Look closely at these units and you’ll see the colour is an ashy, chalky off-black, rather than uncompromisingly sharp jet. This sort of finish lends itself well to a pairing with a comparably soft shade of green on the walls. The deep blue tiles also look great here and don’t clash, since the base unit colour has undertones of the same shade. The blue and white plate is a small detail, but really connects these two surfaces visually.
Again, a one-off gloss surface in this space goes a long way to maximising light, and the contrast with the matt surfaces around it adds interest by highlighting the subtle difference.
The white woodwork, worktop and – important detail – grout keep things feeling fresh, like starched linen in a neutral bedroom.
Try dark blue for your living room walls
Create a moody corner
Inviting and cocoon-like, this tall corner kitchen really draws you in. This is a great example of how something on a grand scale, and in an elegant, high-end finish, can also feel cosy. The glow of the bare filament bulbs as the main lighting adds to the effect.
Even though the space outside this open-plan kitchen is pale and, superficially, has quite a different feel, the two areas connect thanks to the dark-framed furniture beyond.
The design ‘rule of three’ is a useful one if you choose to install a large feature in a statement colour – just two other objects that pick up on the shade will work to balance out the overall space.
Get some grey involved
Just because black kitchens are getting us excited doesn’t mean our love for grey has gone away. And, just as in a black-and-white photograph, you can confidently mix all sorts of greys with white – and black. Here, the walls are a very soft grey, the door is a deep grey, the ceiling a slightly different dark shade and the marbled splashback and worktop mix it all up.
Add a large-format, framed black-and-white print to your scheme to ramp up the effect.
Be bold in a small space
We’re often afraid to go for a strong look in a small space, especially in a room that needs to be practical and functional, but this compact kitchen shows how well it can work.
Again, including reflective surfaces (isn’t that steel splashback/shelf feature stylish?) really help to keep a good sense of light in the room.
If you’re poised to go dark in a weeny cookspace, consider how you’ll break up the visual planes with colour: large swathes of one colour keep things feeling larger than lots of little blocks of different hues. Here, the full-height black wall on the right bleeds into the base units on the facing wall. The silver of the steel, creating a monochrome effect with the splashes of white, makes for a gentle contrast rather than a startling transition.
Pair it with a blackboard
This kitchen’s inky units feel right at home thanks to matching black details in the rest of the space (blackboard wall, picture frame, small appliance details…).
The blackboard is particularly effective, since it provides a partner block of colour, mirroring the end units. If you’re planning to paint your own panel, be sure to sand down your wall first, since every tiny bubble will show up. And do use a specialist painter’s masking tape rather than the regular kind to prevent the paint bleeding.
Before you use your new scribble patch for the first time, it’s advisable to ‘season’ the surface by dragging the side of a piece of chalk across the whole thing and then wiping it off with a damp cloth. You know that too-shiny blackboard with which it’s hard to get your chalk to engage? This helps that not to happen.
Employ as a frame
Here, the effect is reversed, with black working more as a surround for the pale wooden door fronts.
Black worktops typically come in glossy and speckled or sparkly quartz or granite; for a matt finish, consider good old laminate. You could also look into ultracompact Dekton or Corian.
For a textured approach, you could use wood panelling that’s been treated with an inky black stain, or wood veneer in a super-dark hue.
Choose large-sheet veneered panelling for a contemporary look or solid tongue-and-groove for a heritage feel. Look out for other textured wall coverings with black finishes, too, such as brick-effect and stone block.
Are you tempted by the idea of a black kitchen or does white still rule? Tell us your thoughts in the Comments below.